One of the truisms of patient education is that it has to work seamlessly in your clinical workflow. The best piece of education is useless if clinicians can’t easily prescribe it and patients can’t easily access it.
Fortunately, there are many ways to effectively deliver patient education—whether it’s a video viewed at the bedside on a tablet or an emailed PDF a patient can view at home after discharge. Equally fortunately but much less obvious, The Wellness Network has built metadata tools into our health and wellness patient education that further increase the power of these tools, making it easier to search, identify, and assign the most relevant education and offer a complete presentation.
Put simply, metadata describes the bits of data that are wrapped around a piece of education. Though some metadata makes the presentation of the education more complete, other elements are not visible to the patient but instead are used to help clinicians identify relevant education, track it back to existing quality measures or strategic initiatives, and verify comprehension of the learning objective.
The Wellness Network offers some of the most complete metadata in the patient education industry, in both English and Spanish. The metadata we automatically offer with our education includes:
- Keywords—these are used to make it easier to search for particular pieces of content or areas of interest. For example, searching our library for the keyword “ejection fraction” will return results showing all the pieces of heart failure education that have been tagged with that keyword. Keywords are platform-agnostic, meaning they can be used in any delivery platform that can accommodate them.
- Description—Descriptions seem obvious, but they are a crucial part of the metadata suite. Short descriptions help clinicians and patients alike understand what a particular piece of education is about.
- Learning objectives—Learning objectives are similar to descriptions but are not visible to patients and are more narrowly focused. Every piece of education The Wellness Network produces supports a single learning objective, such as how to read a cholesterol test or how to perform a safe transfer at home. These learning objectives make it easier for clinicians to quickly identify multiple pieces of supportive education.
- Comprehension questions—Every piece of education includes a single question that can be posed after the patient is done viewing the education. The questions are designed to show the patient understood the material, and answers can be tracked in various delivery platforms. If a patient gets the comprehension question wrong, it’s a valuable signal to clinicians that follow-up is needed.
- Teach backs—These educational points are included as prompts to help clinicians confirm that patients understand the material.
- Medical Codes—The Wellness Network has tagged each piece of education with relevant ICD-10 diagnostic codes and NDC medication codes. This is especially helpful for prescribing education from within an EMR, making it simple for clinicians to quickly see which pieces of education would be most helpful.
While most of this metadata remains invisible to patients on the front end, each piece has been carefully considered to help clinicians more quickly identify which education is relevant, and then whether or not patients understood the education.
As interoperability continues to become a working reality, the front-line pieces of education will remain critical while comprehensive metadata will provide a solid framework for clinicians to build the most effective patient education program.